It's Ray Day ... again

DON BRENNAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:25 AM ET

BUFFALO -- Told to "beat it" by his coach exactly one week earlier, Ray Emery was yesterday instructed to beat them. He complied, but not without making things interesting first.

Dany Heatley's goal with 4:41 left proved to be the winner as the Senators recovered from blowing a 3-0 lead to beat the Buffalo Sabres 5-3 at HSBC Arena last night.

Daniel Alfredsson then added his 25th goal as the Senators snapped a two-game losing streak.

The game marked the first start for Emery since Dec. 22, as well as his first since coach John Paddock sent him home for sleeping in and showing up late for practice. Emery improved his record to 6-4-3.

Trailing 3-1, the Sabres mounted a comeback in the third, starting with Jochen Hecht's goal on a double-deflection with 8:29 left. Emery, who had played so well, was the goat on Michael Ryan's goal, scored from behind the net off the goalie's stick.

"They started buzzing a bit, then got that power-play goal and banked one in off me," said Emery. "It was a bad time to let one in, but the boys bounced back for me and got one back."

Asked if it was his best game of the season, Emery laughed.

"There have only been a few of them man," he said. "It's one of the best five (six) that I've won."

Heatley came to the rescue, however, firing a cannon of a slap shot to the stick side corner on Jocelyn Thibault for his 24th of the season.

"It's a sign of a good team," said Heatley. "At 3-3, we didn't get totally rattled, we were as calm as could be in a hostile rink. It was definitely nice to get that fourth goal."

Scoring his first NHL goal was Cody Bass, a soon-to-be 21-year-old (Monday), who a day and a half earlier was given a vote of confidence by the coaching staff when fellow rookie Nick Foligno was sent down to Binghamton.

'GREAT FEELING'

"It's a goal. I'm not going to get too excited," said Bass. "Hopefully I'll get a couple more to make them forget this one. At the same time, it's a great feeling. I'm sure my phone is ringing off the hook right now from my mom."

Andrej Meszaros and Jason Spezza also scored.

The Senators were aided greatly by the return from injury of Anton Volchenkov, who after a layoff of more than a month provided them a physical presence, knocking winger Daniel Paille out of the game with a thundering body check in the first period.

The Senators are home tonight to play the Tampa Bay Lightning, which has been in Ottawa waiting since a 6-3 loss in Montreal Thursday.


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